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The raspberries in the Damsel’s garden are going gangbusters, and she’s in heaven. Her arms are scratched but it’s oh so worth it. Raspberries—yum.

Freezer jam is nice because it preserves more of the natural, fresh flavor of the fruit you’re using. Plus, it’s great that you don’t have to cook it, and when it’s 100 degrees outside, the less heat the better. We’ll do other types later.

The Damsel has made a lot of freezer jam in her life, and sometimes it has not “set up”. . . in other words, it doesn’t get as thick as she’d like. Runny jam can be used on pancakes and such, but it’s annoying to have it not turn out. She’s tried several brands of pectin, which is the thickening agent used in most jams. She’s discovered that the recipes must be followed scrupulously, but sometimes the jam’s runny no matter how perfectly it’s done. Maybe the full moon affects it.

She also cringes at the amount of sugar most recipes call for. . .many even call for more sugar than fruit. Yuck!  Her experiments with low sugar recipes have been hit and miss, and then will sometimes spoil in the refrigerator, since the high sugar content is a preservative.

So, when she saw a new Ball brand pectin at the store, she decided to try it, so she can say she’s tried it all. It caught her eye because it uses a lower percentage of sugar, and also doesn’t call for corn syrup like many recipes do. The Damsel doesn’t have anything personal against corn syrup, but white sugar is cheaper and easier to measure, so, yeah.

Pick a mess of raspberries. Or buy them if you must. You’ll need around 6 cups. Wash them gently in a colander. The Damsel apologizes for the freakish look of this stream of water running into her berries, but there you have it.

Pour the pectin into a mixing bowl. Just so you know, these directions are strictly for the Ball type pectin, and won’t work with any other pectins.

Add one and a half cups of plain white wicked sugar. Stir these together until well mixed.

Put the drained berries into another mixing bowl and lightly mash. Raspberries are fragile—you don’t need to heave-ho. In the Damsel’s humble opinion, jam should have chunks of fruit and not be totally smooth. This is her wish.

Measure out four cups (one quart) and add to the bowl of sugar/pectin. Admire the jewel-tone red goodness, and dream of the jam that is to come.

Stir for three minutes. The mixture will become more runny as you stir, and you will think three minutes is a very long time. Persevere, dear students, until the bitter end. Now just let it sit for 30 minutes to thicken.

Sit back in amazement that you have just made freezer jam. Yes. That is all there is to it, except for putting it into something, including your mouth.

You can use freezer containers, or pretty much anything that can be frozen. The Damsel uses pint jars because she has many, many of them. You could use store-bought jam jars, pickle jars, salsa jars, whatever. People say you should be careful about doing that because jars can break in the freezer. The Damsel admits this is possible, but it has never happened to her. Other bad things have happened in her freezer, but not broken jam jars. She’d rather not talk about it any further.

You’ll end up with about 5 cups of jam. (Review lesson: 1 pint=2 cups) The black spot in the half-full jar is not a housefly, so don’t worry. A blackberry jumped in and made itself at home, and the Damsel said well, okay. By the way, you store this in the FREEZER. Except for the currently-being-used jar, which is in the refrigerator. But not for long.


Yeah, baby.

See this post for how to fix runny jam: What if it doesn’t set up?

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  • I’ve never made freezer jam. I have, however, been utterly obsessed with making regular jam this year. I’ve made 9 or 10 batches in the last few months. Lots of strawberry, raspberry, triple berry, and apricot. Mmmm. Sometimes in moments of clarity I ask myself just how many jars of fruit preserves does one household really need? Apparently in our case, it’s an entire cupboard full.

  • damselindisdress

    Ohh those sound so good! You will not be jamless.

  • Chloe Rowles

    No cooking? No boiling water and sterile vacuum seals?
    NOW you are talking my language. Now, if I could only grow raspberries………………but, I can buy them.

    We get wild dewberries (type of blackberry) in this area.

    • damselindisdress

      Cool! Thanks for posting that. I was planning to do a clear jel version later, but wanted to do a pectin one first since clear jel is hard to find outside of Utah. Yum!

  • damselindisdress

    I know, ain’t it great?
    What do dewberries taste like? If they taste like blackberries, you could use this recipe.

  • maimeyrocky

    I am growing raspberries on my virtual farm…I wish I could do something with them.

  • Erica

    I found an even better way. Use Clear Jel..or I found an off brand at the Ace by my house (it has a kitchen store in it…though Greggory’s might have it too) called Ultra Jel. It was AMAZING with my strawberries. I actually over-did it a little and it’s super thick, but I like it that way! I just finished off a container or I’d take a picture and show you.

    It was so easy too! 4 cups of fruit, 2 cups of sugar, 2 T of lemon juice. Stir until mixed. Add 1/2 c. (though I did more like 3/4) of the Ultra Jel and let sit 5 min to thicken. Stir until clear (well, the sugar is all the way dissolved…ya know.)

    No more soaking into my toast!!!!

  • Momonine

    I hear pectic has gotten freakin’ expensive?? My friend in NJ made 6 pints of strawberry jam–she had to buy the berries, et al, total cost was about $80

  • damselindisdress

    Pectin has always been expensive in my opinion, but it’s about the same as last year, I think. Seems like the little MCP boxes are around $3. This pouch of Ball was $1.50 so I was happy when it turned out.

    I’m checking into a source of bulk pectin which has got to be cheaper than all that packaging. Plus, I’m going to do a post on using clear jel which ought to be cheaper yet. $80! Yikes!

  • Miette

    It would probably work just fine with the apricots I’ll have soon right?

  • damselindisdress


  • I like the low sugar aspect of the freezer jam! One reason jam/jelly is runny is because the fruit is a ‘low-pectin’ fruit – apples, raspberries, blackberries have pectin in them, but peaches, apricots are more likely to be runny because they don’t have enough pectin in the fruit itself. Sometimes w/ regular jam, I boil it a minute longer or add a bit of apple juice to peaches/apricots so it will ‘set up’ better.

  • Joyce Renner

    I made this freezer jam as instructed, I love the low sugar, but I felt like the jam was not very sweet. It must be my berries. Do you have any suggestions?

  • You can also make your own pectin, if you have a lot of apple trees.

    I have a link on my site here: http://theprudenthomemaker.com/fruitsandvegetables.aspx

  • The runniness you get even when you follow the directions to the letter is from humidity in the air. Sometimes it's worse than other times.

  • Good to know, Natalie. Thanks.

  • veronica simpson

    ok so i have a question ive been making freeezer jam and i cant seen to find the ball brand pectin any ideas on what store to look in because i can only find sure-jell

    • the_damsel

      Veronica,I found mine at Wal-Mart. I'm not sure if it is available in your area. You could try contacting the Ball company and see who retails it in your area. Hope it works out!

  • veronica simpson

    thanks i went searching for it and found it a bi mart but thanks for your help

  • Diana

    I tried this recipe, and it turned out great! I love your instructions with pictures because I'm such a visual learner. I actually prefer a sweeter jam, but my two little boys aged 6 and 7 have been using this on their pbj's like it's going out of style. I love how they are eating more fruit than sugar. Thanks so much! 🙂

  • Gourmified

    Okay, so posting this as part of your birthday post reminded me…have you tried using flavored jell-o as your “pectin” of sorts to make your jams? If so, what do you think about the differences in the two?

    • Anonymous

      I have heard of it, but haven’t tried it myself. My first thought was eww, jello is such a processed food. And then it hit me how ridiculous that thought was. Hello, mountains of white sugar!

      I guess it could be a good solution as long as the “set” was the way you like it. I wouldn’t like the jam to turn out TOO set, all rubbery, ya know. My personal preference is a softer set. I imagine this could be achieved with a bit of monkeying.

      Margot (The Damsel)

  • Elston Gunn

    What size package of pectin does this recipe call for?  We used the 0.6 oz package and it’s a little runny… should we use more next time?  It shouldn’t be a problem, our raspberry bushes usually produce about 4-5 quarts of berries every few days!!!  

    • Anonymous

      Are you using the Ball brand in a little pouch rather than a box?

      And I just gotta say. Lucky you. 4-5 quarts!!! Heaven!

      Here is a link for fixing runny jam: http://www.mynewoldschool.com/2009/07/21/fixing-runny-freezer-jam/
      Keep in mind that freezer jam is always a bit softer than cooked jam. But I think the fresh taste makes it totally worth it. Let me know if you have any more questions!

      Margot (The Damsel)

  • Debbiekohles

    I have bought Ball real fruit pectin in a 4.7 oz jar. It only gives recipes for water bath processing can I use it for freezer raspberry jam?

    • Anonymous

      I very much doubt it would work for that. I would contact Ball directly to make sure, but my guess is no. So sorry!

  • Mommyof1

    How much pectin do I need to use for this recipe?

  • Laura F.

    Can I use the Ball low or no-sugar needed pectin for this recipe or does it have to say freezer jam on it?

    • thedamselindisdress

      You can use that pectin, but you’ll need to follow their directions instead of mine. Some of these pectins have a separate set of directions for freezer jam and others don’t say anything at all about freezer jam…with those, I don’t believe it will work for freezer jam. Does that make sense?
      Margot (The Damsel)

  • how would u make this seedless

    • thedamselindisdress

      You’d have to press the raspberries through a fine sieve or strainer, but it wouldn’t be easy. Yummy, though, if you have the time to do it. Margot (The Damsel)

  • Sherri

    Will this raspberry freezer jam recipe be the same for black raspberries ?

    • thedamselindisdress

      Should work! (love black raspberries!)

      (The Damsel)